August 20, 2012

Labour Ministry responds to Barr’s protest

Publish date/time: 20/08/2012 [12:38]

The Labour Ministry will implement the final Wages Regulation Order after due process is completed as required under the Employment Promulgation Order.

Labour Minister Jone Usumate made the response after Father Kevin Barr resigned as the chairperson of the Fiji Wages Council last Friday in protest after government deferred the Wages Regulation Order to October.

Usumate said neither he nor his Permanent Secretary Taito Waqa had received any formal resignation from Father Barr.

Usumate clarified that the ministry is just following the good faith consultation process required under the Employment Promulgation Order and Father Barr has just thrown in the towel before the consultation process is completed.

He said he respects the wish of Father Barr if he wants to resign but asserted that government will ensure that the rule of law prevails and the good faith process of consultation will not be side tracked by emotions or politics.

He said in view of the significant numbers of objections he received against the proposed Wages Regulations Orders put forward by the Wages Council , he has referred these objections to the chairperson of the wages council for reconsideration under the powers vested upon him.

He said Father Barr should have the patience and independency to complete his assignment and review the proposed Wages Regulation Orders through the Wages Council before recommending to the minister the councils final proposals on the orders.

The minister said that government fully appreciates and acknowledged the tireless efforts of Father Barr as chairperson of the wages council and all members of the re-constituted wages council on their two year terms of appointments since 2008.

He said government is fully committed to social justice for workers in ensuring fair wages that are also affordable to employers.

Story by: Sofaia Koroitanoa

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